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Treasures of the Archives: Horseless Carriage, 1901-1904

George W. Fox in front of Fox House, Photographs, Spokane City Historic Preservation Office, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

George W. Fox in front of Fox House, Photographs, Spokane City Historic Preservation Office, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

The first automobiles were often called “horseless carriages,” and you can see why in this Spokane photograph from about 1903. In those days owners could choose steam, gasoline, or electricity to power their newfangled vehicles. There was little infrastructure to provide gasoline, and steam engines were slow to warm up, so many people with access to electricity chose electric cars. The availability of electric cars was due to Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison’s work with alternating and direct current electricity, and Gaston Plante’s work on rechargeable batteries. By 1911 almost 30% of all the cars on the road were electric.

Treasures of the Archives: Looking for historic NW images? State Library has ‘em!

“Hidden from Sight” collection includes this image of Mount Rainier from the Puyallup River. (Image courtesy of Washington State Library)

“Hidden from Sight” collection includes this image of Mount Rainier from the Puyallup River. (Image courtesy of Washington State Library)

Don’t see the photo you are looking for here, try our partner the Washington State Library! One of the great things about the Washington State Library is that many of its historic photos, newspapers and maps are available digitally, for free.

One example is the State Library’s Flickr page, which on some days receives thousands of hits to individual photos. The State Library’s Flickr page now has a collection of images that show life in the early Northwest. This new collection is called “Hidden from Sight.”

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